Nelson mayor Rachel Reese and acting Associate Minister of Transport James Shaw, cut the ribbon on the new shared pathway. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Shared cycleway to Rocks Rd opened

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The Maitai to Rocks Rd Shared Pathway is officially open for business after a longer than expected wait, but the question now is how long we will wait for it to be connected to Tahunanui.

Green Party co-leader and acting Associate Minister of Transport James Shaw along with Nelson mayor Rachel Reese cut the ribbon to officially open the $2 million shared pathway on Sunday, two months after the expected completion date.

The shared pathway connects the end of the Maitai pathway with the beginning of Wakefield Quay and cyclists say they felt “a lot safer” riding the new pathway, which caters for commuter cyclists as well as less confident, recreational cyclists.

James Shaw says that it’s another step in an ongoing process in the quest to build an integrating multi-model transport network for the region.

However, he acknowledges that there is still more work to be done.

“It’s a fantastic piece of infrastructure, very smooth, nicely away from vehicles and a great asset for the city.”

“It’s pretty obvious that there is the next immediate bit that is going to be important if you want to really complete it.”

He was referring to Rocks Rd, where many cyclists and pedestrians feel unsafe travelling through to Tahunanui.

He says the Government’s vision is to have rapid transit, public transport, cycling, walking and roads as part of an integrated network in our towns and cities.

“What we’ve opened today is clearly an important part of that and there is a very important missing link here, which is the bit between the end of this section and out by the airport.”

He says the next stage of the project, connecting the new shared pathway with the other end of Tahunanui, is currently in NZTA’s hands and they are “working through” it.

“It is going to take a bit of time to do that because of the interactions with the other roading and public transport.”

He says it’s “clearly linked” to whether the Southern Link goes ahead or not, as it will change the nature of the design on Rocks Rd, depending on the outcome.

James says NZTA understands how important a cycle and walkway are along Rocks Rd.